Dimension Data South Africa and Internet Solutions (IS) today announced the launch of Enterprise Wi-Fi, a fully managed solution that integrates a secure, enterprise WLAN deployment with the advantages of the AlwaysOn Hotspot service.
"The need to cater for smartphone and tablet usage constitutes a significant, unplanned requirement for most enterprise LANs," explains Brett Steingo, Innovation and Technology Manager for Connectivity at IS. "Employees and clients expect to be able to connect via multiple devices on business premises or while on the move. As a result, wireless office environments have become pervasive through necessity."
This growing demand poses a number of challenges. "Most importantly, allowing visitors to access the corporate WLAN, or giving employees unrestricted access over the corporate network, creates multiple and serious security risks," says Dimension Data SA's GM for Network Integration and Converged Communications, Michael Abendanon. "When companies block certain online content, users often work around these restrictions, which open unsecured back doors into the network. Corporations also need to recognise end-user computing trends, such as the consumerisation of IT and bring your own device (BYOD). Organisations need to start implementing solutions that enable these trends, without compromising the secure environment."
To find a suitable solution, IS and Dimension Data invested in researching and developing Enterprise Wi-Fi. "With Dimension Data's experience, expertise and capabilities in corporate WLAN infrastructure, and the skill and understanding IS has gained through provisioning AlwaysOn Hotspots in the hospitality and retail sectors, we created a comprehensive solution that solves these challenges," says Abendanon.
The result is a fully integrated solution that provides an efficient, versatile and secure wireless business environment, which supports a fully connected, mobile workforce. "Enterprise Wi-Fi is currently the only offering that provides employees with secure, seamless connectivity on multiple devices at the office, and WiFi access at any of the 1 200 IS AlwaysOn Hotspots around South Africa, all through a single profile. It also gives our customers the ability to manage users on a single interface," says Steingo.
In addition, through AlwaysOn's partnership with iPass, clients are granted access to the iPass international WiFi network, comprising over a million hotspots in 110 countries. This ensures business travellers have quality, affordable Internet access, without having to rely on costly 3G.
Secure access to the LAN is enabled through encrypted authentication to the organisation's directory service, which allows employees to access the same online resources they would have at their desks.
Enterprise Wi-Fi also makes catering to visitor connectivity requirements, as well as additional and 'unwanted' traffic on the corporate WLAN, easier and more secure by moving non-work-related traffic to public infrastructure. "By providing different layers of connectivity, a company's guests don't access the private network, which ensures greater security. The areas and amount of access that guests can connect with can also be customised and easily managed."
As Enterprise Wi-Fi is a managed service, the burden of monitoring and managing this wireless access no longer falls to the internal IT department. "This helps to reduce operating costs, while also maintaining a secure WLAN environment with guaranteed levels of performance," explains Abendanon.
"Enterprise Wi-Fi accounts have a fixed monthly cost per employee, which makes budgeting easier and mitigates unexpected usage bills," he concludes. For more information, visit www.is.co.za or www.dimensiondata.com.